615 Reimagining Exposure Therapy

How to Create Meaning in the Age of Anxiety

In our feel-good-quickly culture, where modernity has led us to believe that we can control everything, our ability to tolerate distress, discomfort, and uncertainty has declined. This process has contributed to the rise in anxiety and worry. By refocusing on living life with purpose while learning to tolerate anxious feelings and physical sensations, we can help free our clients from being hostages to anxiety. Counter to the views of exposure therapy as cruel and mechanistic, you’ll discover how existential framing, practical habit science, and experiential techniques make it transformational. You’ll learn how to: 

  • Reduce fear of fear and distress intolerance using experiential, behavioral, and somatic strategies 
  • Focus on meaning-making as a guiding principle of therapy and life by clarifying values, confronting mortality, and orienting toward legacy 
  • Leverage the science of habit change to help clients actually live the way they intend to 
  • Debunk exposure therapy myths and reconsider its usefulness 

Jelena Kecmanovic, PhD, is a clinical psychologist, the founding director of the Arlington/DC Behavior Therapy Institute, and an adjunct professor at Georgetown University. She’s a frequent contributor to The Washington Post and other popular outlets. 


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